Watch out for glaucoma

Did you know that glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States? Glaucoma is a sneaky disease which causes damage to the optic nerve, the part of the eye that carries the images we see to our brains.

Glaucoma awareness is extremely important since this disease has little symptoms. A person with glaucoma can lose up to 40 percent of their vision before they even notice and once their vision is lost, it is permanent.

The National Eye Institute projects a 58 percent increase in glaucoma patients by 2030.

Early detection and treatment by your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) are keys in preventing optic nerve damage and blindness from glaucoma.

While the only sure way to detect glaucoma is to have a complete eye examination performed by your ophthalmologist, there are some important risk factors to consider.

These factors include age, elevated eye pressure, family history of glaucoma, African or Hispanic ancestry, farsightedness or nearsightedness, past eye injuries, thinner central corneal thickness, systemic health problems (including diabetes, migraine headaches, and poor circulation), and pre-existing thinning of the optic nerve.

Your ophthalmologist can weigh all of these factors to determine if your risk of developing glaucoma is higher than normal and whether you should be closely monitored as a glaucoma suspect.

Together we can work to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease and fight to prevent unnecessary vision loss from glaucoma!

• Janel Patterson is a certified optician. Info: CraneEyeCare.com

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